Another day …

… another instance of blatant sexism in sports journalism. This time, it’s at Ohio University.

http://www.thepostathens.com/news/woub-leadership-women-treated-as-sexual-objects-by-male-sports/article_1d0240e2-ebbd-11e5-9173-cbfd49b30426.html

From the Ohio University student paper:

The report says their complaints were centered around:
– A culture where men in leadership promoted the women they believed were most attractive.
– Excluding women from FaceOff.
– Rating women based on attractiveness and “bangability.”
– A group text among only male student sports employees to discuss women as “sexual objects.”
– “Foul, vile and egregious” sexual talk that women found so uncomfortable they chose to avoid the newsroom or “not to participate in sports journalism.”

There’s always been the pervading question of, “Why don’t we see more women in sports journalism?” Can you blame the women for wanting to get out if their male peers don’t see them as equals, and instead as objects to be graded and/or degraded? I just talked to a reporter not too long ago who left her outlet because she said it was one of the most hostile environments she ever worked in. And she’s barely a year out of college.

And women wonder how these attitudes are cultivated, as well.

Look at your newsroom: Are there women in authority roles? Sports editor, managing editor, lead football or men’s basketball writer. How do you treat them? How are they treated professionally and personally? What kind of boundaries do you have with them?

This instance comes down to respect – teaching people professional respect and personal boundaries. And that someone’s “hotness” shouldn’t be the prism through which they’re judged, hired or promoted.

This reminds me of an instance in high school, when my male classmates passed around a list where they voted who the hottest girls in our English class were. I wasn’t on the list – and I’m sort of glad I wasn’t.

I have this argument all the time with male coworkers – in fact, I told a male coworker, “you were pissed that I wasn’t a hot 26-year-old.”

Unfortunately, that’s still the measuring stick. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been approached by a male colleague in a press box who has asked me, “who was that girl you were just talking to? She’s cute/fine/hot.”

Me: “Get to know her as a person and as a reporter, okay?”

 

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Well, how does she get her information?

Jessica Moran confirmed Friday that she resigned from her position as a sideline reporter with Comcast SportsNet New England … on the heels of questions that surrounded her relationship with Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell.

And while she didn’t confirm or deny that she was involved with the manager of the team she covered … her departure and the questions that surround it brought to light something we see quite a bit.

Jessica, you did the noble thing by falling on your sword. But it’s not indicative of female sports reporters as a whole.

Let’s be real: women in sports journalism aren’t in this business to land a husband from the men whom they cover. Though it’s happened. And it won’t stop. And it’s something that’s frowned upon – dating one of the people whom you cover – because it’s seen as a conflict of interest. It’s perceived as getting an unfair advantage – and holding a bias towards a person.

A (male) coworker told me, “well, it’s a little more accepted with broadcasters.” So that makes them different from other journalists? Some would argue that argue that they’re personalities – not reporters

But they started out as reporters – many of them – trying to gather the same information that their male and female counterparts needed to get. That I needed to get. And giving the impression of sleeping with one of the people whom they cover? That’s not an ethical way of getting information.

I’ve worked in markets where it’s happened, though not on my beat. I saw a television personality leave town – and continue her relationship with someone who was on her beat. And that’s well and good, but if that had been my beat and she worked next to me, I wouldn’t have had it.

Because then there would be that question: Well, how does she get her information?

It’s not a fun thing to deal with, on a macro or a micro level.

 

 

 

Part 2: What not to do in journalism, part 4,974

Julie Stewart-Binks taped a rebuttal to her Rob Gronkowski lap dance segment on Fox Sports 1. And it’s just as cringe-worthy as the initial instance.

Here’s a link to the clip: https://twitter.com/FS1/status/695703403230416896

Her explanation is that what she did was “a sketch.”

“The people that have come at me hardest are women,” she said.

Well, yeah, because she basically lampooned what we do … then tried to blame us.

“Thanks for setting us back 45 years,” … said no female sports reporter, ever.

 

What not to do in journalism, part 4,974

So, by now, we’ve all seen Rob Gronkowski’s lap dance from last night’s Fox Sports 1 visit.

To post video of this, I believe, would make me complicit. But the question Julie Stewart-Binks posed to Gronkowski was this: “If you had a chance to make some more money using, maybe, me …” she said. “Wanna maybe show us a little Magic Mike?”

It’s not cute and it’s not funny.

Unoffically, of a sample of 100 women in sports journalism, 99 wouldn’t ask that question. One did and degraded the other 99.

Has a creepy precendent been set? Do we now have to ask interview subjects for lap dances? Let’s hope athletes are smarter than that. I know women are smarter than that. But given Stewart-Binks’ coy questioning and the display that followed, let’s clear this up right now:

There needs to be a rational understanding in the working world that women are not objects, and they cannot make themselves into that.

One of the tangents I saw last night was the straw-man argument that, “If Cam Newton did this …”

Right now, Cam Newton has a few bigger things on his mind, and I don’t know if A) he’d go on a talk show during the Super Bowl and B) if he’d take the chance to grind on a female reporter. Professionalism, you know?

Not to give Gronkowski a pass, but consider the unprofessionalism of last night’s exchange on both sides. Let’s talk about sports, not sex. Let’s discuss the topic at hand, not your past as an amateur Magic Mike.

This is not how reporters – male or female – develop their sources. This is not how we get the people we cover to open their minds to us, whether they’re a politician, a community leader, an athlete or a high school principal.

It’s not professional, or appropriate. It’s degrading and demeaning.

And we cannot give leeway to anyone who think it’s okay to somehow sexualize a professional exchange. Its not indicative of female journalists, or journalists, period.

And it’s not how you get a job.

***

On a related note, I get a kick out of this video – some of the questions/comments questions posed to female athletes and the responses that male athletes would give. Doesn’t objectification sound ridiculous?

via Covertheathlete.com:

 

An appreciation of Craig Adams

Craig Adams retired from hockey earlier this week, and released a statement via the NHLPA announcing his departure.

You never saw his name in the box scores or in the headlines, but it’s etched twice on the Stanley Cup. Because Craig Adams was one of the grinders. And probably one of the more unique guys in hockey.

He was born in Brunei.

He was the last-ever draft pick for the Hartford Whalers before the team moved to North Carolina, a ninth-round pick. There aren’t even nine rounds in the NHL Entry Draft anymore.

He was a waiver pickup from the Chicago Blackhawks, three months before the Penguins won the 2009 Stanley Cup.

He was an NHLPA player rep – which, in my pro-union household, counts for something.

He is a smart guy. He went to Harvard.

craigadamsreads

(I just thought that photo was funny.)

Craig Adams left hockey with some unspectacular numbers. But, as I sometimes said during Penguins games:

“Every time Craig Adams scores, an angel gets its wings.”

So, 62 angels got their wings in the course of Craig Adams’ 14 seasons in the NHL.

Sit down and shut up!

To the man in the stands at the high school girls basketball game I covered tonight: You had no right to shout out loud to a referee that a player “outweighs her by 50 pounds!”

People wonder where the cultural attitude of body shaming and “perfect figure” ideals come from – from what I had to listen to tonight, it starts in the home. Or in the community. These are high school girls, for God’s sake! On top of everything else a teenager has to deal with, listening to an adult comment on her weight is not one of them.

Gloria Steinem said it best when she asked me – in front of an audience of 3,000 people – about being a sports reporter. Then, she said to me, “That is so wonderful. Sports are fantastic for girls. They teach us that women’s bodies are instruments, not objects.”

That teenage girl you made that foul comment about? She is not an object. She is a basketball player, and that court is her sanctuary, her arena. You had no reason to single her out because she’s playing a sport she’s good at, one she grew up with, one that likely defines a big part of who she is.

And I hope to God that she didn’t hear you.

Hell, I’d hate to hear what you have to say about the women in your office. In your community. Or, worse, in your family.

Oh, yeah, and that ref you yelled at isn’t going to change his mind.